Next week, I’ll take possession of my sixth car. It is interesting that I have had so few cars. I proclaim not to care very much one way or the other. But, as my husband began the search for car #6, it quickly became clear that I do have strong preferences.

And so I should. Both my father and husband are extremely well versed in all details of vehicles – make, model year, full retail prices; they can spot tiny differences as they zoom past on the freeway. Their opinions were hard to ignore. I’ve spent many hours walking through car lots, even junkyards, looking for a certain part or hopeful to find a hidden treasure.

So I really started to look at cars in the past couple of weeks. I drove the “cheaper” version of my wrecked car. And my list of possible cars became very short for a number of reasons. Turns out when you are spending tens of thousands, details that are second nature to my husband start to become far more important to me.

It occurs to me that most of my cars have not been my choice. More often, a little bit of chance and circumstance.

  1. 1977 Chevrolet Monza, rust colored – new to me in 1986. Bought this from a family friend for $100 who wanted to buy a weed wacker with the cash. Of course he didn’t need the money. Wanted the car gone. We were soon to realize why. The list of repairs, (including rebuilding the engine, changing the head gaskets many times, chronic carburetor problems) are too long to mention. Suffice to say, in the first summer when I stopped for gas, (which it was a guzzler of), I also had to refill the radiator with water and usually add a half litre of oil. Nice. Drove that baby for 7 years. When I was off to Vancouver with it, my Dad said famously, “find a boyfriend that can fix cars”.
  2. 1991 Geo Storm, black on black – new to me in 1995. I bought this in the US for about $7,000. It was on a Ford lot and my boyfriend, who would be my husband, gave me the down payment from Canada when the loonie was about 60 cents to the USD, ouch. I financed this car and probably didn’t negotiate one bit. I did not even test drive it. Just loved the look of it. This car had a major problem with the struts and I had one replaced in the first month, under warranty. My husband would come in handy for years later, changing those struts regularly.

    Jeep - my son age 2

    Jeep – my son age 2

  3. 1990 Jeep Grand Cherokee, red with grey leather interior – new to me in 2001. This would later be called “Darth Maul” by my son. But he was to young at the time to know what a menace this vehicle was at times. However, those “times” where never under my command. My husband bore the brunt of the breakdowns and the quest to fix the strange things that seemed to go wrong. I loved this truck. When my children were young, it was perfect for infant seats and toddler car seats. The leather repelled everything they threw at it. It was extremely sure footed in the snow and even on ice, which we experienced much of in those years. This was our first family vehicle and we had some epic adventures.
  4. 1994 Acura Vigor, kind of a brown color with taupe leather inside – new to me in 2003. This was a fun car, 5 speed, heated seats, go fast engine, lots of other luxury features. I felt like a serious grown up in this car. After a few good years, we ended up limping it into a Honda dealer for a trade in on car #5.
  5. 2004 Mazda 3, grey with grey leather – new to me in 2007. This was the first nice “late model” car I ever owned. 5 speed, one owner, low kilometers. We paid, what seemed to me at the time, a lot of money for this car. Of course, when your first car cost you $100, well, you see how far I’ve come. My kids named her, Queen Amadala. We had no major problems with this car, until late March of this year. Coming into the entrance of the George Massey Tunnel at rush hour, I was hit twice after I came to a full stop. Evidently there was a fatality that day in a separate accident at the other end of the tunnel. So, it was really a lucky day for me.
  6. 2010 Acura CSX, charcoal with black leather – new to me April 2014. I can’t even imagine how nice this car will be to drive. It has an integrated hands-free iPhone system, navigation, XFM, 5 speed, v-tech engine, another 3 year Acura certified warranty, etc. I’ll never understand, or forget the experience of negotiating the price at the Acura dealership, which my husband conducted. It is a very formal, offer – counter, new offer, counter and so on. All written down on a piece of paper and the salesman bouncing up and down like a yo-yo to get approvals. Both sides throwing out statements to support their numbers. Strange game.

So it ends, my list for now. I’m sure I’ll drive a few more, see a few more places. The fun is in the journey, not only the destination.